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HomeMarketingMorrisons increased marketing spend by a fifth in 2023 despite £1bn loss

Morrisons increased marketing spend by a fifth in 2023 despite £1bn loss

MorrisonsMorrisons significantly stepped up its marketing spend in 2023, despite its parent company making a near £1bn loss.

The supermarket’s parent company, Market Topco, which owns convenience chain McColl’s as well as Morrisons, reported a pre-tax loss of £919m for the year ending 29 October 2023.

While the rising cost of debt was a significant factor towards this loss, Morrisons also saw revenues decrease versus the year prior. Total revenue for the group declined from £18.48bn in its 2022 period to £18.36bn in 2023.

The supermarket chain has also come under pressure after losing market share to the discounters. Notably, in September 2022 – just before the start of its 2023 financial year – Morrisons was replaced by Aldi as the fourth biggest supermarket in the UK by market share.

Despite a near £1bn loss, Morrisons invested heavily in marketing in its most recent financial year. The supermarket chain spent £204m on marketing and advertising in the year ending 29 October 2023, a figure that represents an increase of around one fifth (21%) versus the same period last year.

The increased spending came as Morrisons revamped its brand, resurrecting ‘More Reasons to Shop at Morrisons’ in a major new campaign and revitalising its loyalty offering.

‘We had been playing it too safe’: Morrisons CMO on its brand revamp

It was a bid for the supermarket to be “bolder” in its marketing, chief customer and marketing officer Rachel Eyre told Marketing Week at the time.

“Morrisons is a brand with heart and soul,” Eyre said. “I think we had been playing it a bit too safe.”

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The supermarket delivered five “significant waves” of price cutting last year, including its ‘Prices Locked Low’ campaign launched in March 2023. Morrisons also claims to have “strengthened” its ‘Savers’ brand, introducing what it describes as “bolder packaging” and adding more than 50 new products to the range.

In the company’s annual report Morrisons said it has been striving “to build a brand that is broader, stronger, popular and more accessible”. The report identified value and a need to be competitive as core components of its strategy.

“Value for money remains the most important factor to customers when deciding where to shop,” Morrisons said in its report.

The supermarket highlighted its price lock initiative, loyalty offers and own brand range as ways in which it is delivering on that goal to deliver value.

Morrisons CMO: Aldi and Lidl price match is an ‘effective way’ to communicate value

Earlier this year Morrisons took another step to communicate its value offering by introducing a price match with discounters Lidl and Aldi.

Speaking to Marketing Week about the launch, Eyre claimed the initiative gave consumers “reassurance” on price and is designed to ensure they feel able to do more of their shopping with Morrisons, rather than shopping around for the best deal.

“We want to remove every obstacle in front of our customers and make it as easy as possible for them to do as much of their shopping as possible at Morrisons,” she said.

After a near £1bn loss last year, Morrisons will be aiming for a better 2024. New CEO Rami Baitiéh explained he is “not satisfied” with the supermarket’s financial performance.

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As top marketer Eyre heads off on maternity leave, former group commercial director Darren Blackhurst is set to step into the role on an interim basis. One of Blackhurst’s “first priorities” will be the company’s pricing strategy, Baitiéh said, commenting on the appointment.



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